Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Best Training Stimulus to Increase V02 Max

For well-trained and elite distance runners, the strongest stimulus to increase VO2 max appears to be provided by interval workouts that accumulate as much time at 95 to 100 percent of current VO2 max as possible

Intervals of two to six minutes typically allow runners to accumulate the most time at 95 to 100 percent of VO2 max. For many runners, workouts consisting of a total distance of 6,000 to 8,000 meters of fast running provide an effective balance between providing a strong training stimulus but not requiring too many days to recover
.....Pete Pfitzinger,

Effective VO2 Max Workouts

Length of Interval......... Number of Efforts

600m.............................. 8-12

800m.............................. 7-10

1 km.............................. 6-8

1200m............................. 5-7

1600m............................. 4-5

MY COMMENT: I like 8 x 800s.

Marathon Training Update- Jan 30

am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 12 miles. This was a good, long run. No worries about pace. Total= 14 miles

Total for the week = 64 miles

Only 4 weeks until Napa Valley!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Should Headphones Be Banned?

Grandma’s Marathon runners with a love of portable music no longer have to risk disqualification by listening to their favorite tunes.

The Duluth road race chose Tuesday to allow headphones and other electronic devices on the 26.2- mile course after USA Track and Field lifted a two-year ban.

USA Track and Field, the national governing body for road racing, voted in December to amend its rule banning headphones, but left it up to individual races to do the same.

The Grandma’s Marathon board of directors voted Tuesday to lift the ban, beginning with the June 20 event and accompanying Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon. Executive race director Scott Keenan, however, said entrants still are urged not to wear headphones for safety reasons.

MY COMMENT: I hate headphones and think they should have kept the ban. They are an unnecessary hazard not only to runners who wear them but to others who don't.

Lakefront Marathon scores 2008 Race of the Year Award

The Road Runners Club of America selected the Lakefront as its 2008 Road Race of the Year, honoring the volunteer-driven effort that is one of about 15,500 races run in the U.S.

The RRCA, a national running organization that represents more than 700 clubs like the Badgerland Striders, will present the award at its annual convention in San Francisco, in March.
Milwaukee Journal

Nice award for this small time race in Milwaukee (limit of 2750 runners). I got 5th in this one in 1984 with a 2hr 29 min.

2009 Boston Marathon Registration Closed

According to the event website, registration for the April 20, 2009 Boston Marathon is now closed as the race has reached its capacity. This would be the earliest closing ever for the race which accepts 25,000 entrants.

boston athletic association

MY COMMENT: Is it time to stiffen up the qualifying times?

Marathon Training Update- Jan 29

pm: 2 miles with Sumo, then 6 miles - felt ok -ran most of this at marathon pace.
total = 8 miles
Total for the week= 50 miles

Marathon Training Update- Jan 28

pm: 4 mile jog with Sumo, then 10 x 800 on trail with 1 min recovery- 3:00 ave give or take. Slow was 3:05, fastest was 2:57.

Hard workout! My times are a little slower than I'd like, however I see on Nov 8 I did this workout and averaged 3:02 so I am right there. I am using 2 different stretches of trail now and one length is always a couple of seconds slower.

Total miles = 9.
Total miles for the week = 42

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Need Some Motivation? Ask Navy Seal David Goggins

David Goggins is a Navy Seal that should serve as an inspiration to anybody who runs. Check out his website and watch the video- you'll be amazed.
He claims to hate running, yet he logs over 100 miles per week on top of biking and swimming. "I do this to raise money for the children of soldiers killed in combat."
Hard to imagine but Goggins used to weigh 280 pounds!

Rick Trujillo- Mountain Runner Legend

We sat down at a barbecue joint in Ridgway, 10 miles from Ouray, where Trujillo ordered a plate of chicken nuggets. "I don't understand how people spend lots of money on stuff that's going to be gone the next day," he said, when I inquired-this was an expense account meal, after all-whether he wouldn't prefer something a little fancier. "People ask me what my diet is, and I say, whatever's available. Iguana, goat. I eat what's there."

He bought ice cream by the gallon. "Whatever flavor is there. Whatever brand is cheapest." He ate it by the half gallon. "The one thing I can't do without is cookies."

A year later, I've returned to Ouray to see him again. He's been through a lot in that time. Besides dealing with chronic tendinitis in his Achilles tendons and a torn meniscus in his right knee, he also had a stent placed in his chest. Doctors had placed it there in October 2007, after Trujillo-worried over months of odd heartburn and episodes of breathlessness-scheduled an exam and discovered that one of his major arteries was 90 percent blocked. It was the left anterior descending artery, known among cardiologists as "the widow maker." "In other words," Trujillo e-mailed his friends, "I had been a candidate for a full-fledged heart attack for more than a year but didn't recognize it."

MY COMMENT: Rick was a fabulous runner in his day- 5 consecutive Pikes Peak Marathon victories.

Marathon Training Update Jan 27

am: 2 mile jog with Sumo, then 9 miles. Have you eaten some food and left for a run only to "bonk" 1-2 miles in? Low blood sugar or something, but I felt it today and had to walk for about 10 minutes. Eventually the energy level comes back, so it's nothing more than a nuisance. I ended up running a few fartlek type pick-ups, including a 6:30 mile 8th mile. 11 total miles

Total Miles for the week = 33

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

German Fernandez Sets Junior World Record for Indoor Mile

Oklahoma State freshman German Fernandez, running in the first indoor meet of his career, as well as his first meet back after injuring his leg at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, set a junior world record in the indoor mile run with a remarkable time of 3:56.50 Saturday at the Razorback Invitational at the University of Arkansas

Too bad German got injured at NCAA cross country nationals, but good news that he is now very fit. Can somebody please beat Galen Rupp?

Matt Tegenkamp Receives Treatment I Never Heard Of

Tegenkamp, 27, has been receiving a variety of treatments, including a procedure where the anti-inflammatory medication Dexamethasone is passed through the skin on his knee from a special pad. "There is a ion transfer and that drives the medication down through the skin," he explained. He also said he had been taking anti-inflammatory medications and even took a "rich platelets" treatment. "They take a pretty significant amount of your blood, then spin it down just to the platelets," he said. "They inject the platelets back to wherever you're having the pain, and it makes a chemical reaction through the body and causes a huge rush of blood to that area. The point of it is that the body will heal itself." -

Marathon Training Log -Jan 26

easy day- 4 mile jog with Sumo on the trails. Loved it.

Marathon Training Update- Jan 25

am: 1 mile with Sumo, then my 17 mile loop in 2 hrs flat, about 6 minutes faster than last week. I was 60 minutes at the 8.5 mile turn around compared to 63 a week ago. This was a hard workout but I can go faster with a taper, racing flats, and less clothing. (I forgot my 5 Hour Energy, but carried a bottle of watered down Dr Pepper)

Total= 18 miles

Monday, January 26, 2009

Marathon Training Update- Jan 24

no run- I decided to rest for a long hard one tomorrow. Fought the temptation to run for the sake of reaching a 60 mile week. Got the mountain bike out for a short hill workout- about 15 minutes of steady climbing.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Marathon Training Update- Jan 23

am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 12 miles easy. Surprisingly, I felt very comfortable through half of this run, despite the hard intervals yesterday.

Then I made a rookie mistake of running with the wind the first 6 miles, so things started to go bad when I started home. By the time I finished I was slowing and really struggling. So glad to get this one over.

Total = 14 miles
Total for the week= 52 miles

Friday, January 23, 2009

Indoor Marathon in Wisconsin Won in 2hr 37 min

To complete a marathon's distance of 26.2 miles, the runners had to make it around the track 95.377 times

I've run workouts in the Pettit National Ice Center before- they have a 2 lane 450 meter track around the perimeter of the ice rink. It's a good alternative to running outside in Milwaukee or the treadmill.

In the 70s there used to be a small marathon in Naperville, Illinois, and one year I went down it snowed so much they moved us inside for a 10 mile race. Not sure I'd want to run in circles a full 26.2 though.

Marathon Training Update- Jan 22

am: 4 mile jog with Sumo, then 8 x 800 on trail with 1 min recovery. 1 mile cool down. I ran hard in this workout- the distance is not officially measured but my first 4 (on the south side of K. Dick Rd.) were slightly over 3 min and last 4 (on my old stretch of trail) was 2:57. I'll be able to measure both sections soon- and hope both are a little long. I am happy because I felt good but disappointed in the times given the effort.

Total miles = 9
Total miles for the week= 38

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Marathon Training Update Jan 21

am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 6 miles easy. Legs tired.
Another tip for your level of conditioning is recovery. I did a hard 4 miles yesterday and felt that I should be able to bounce back today. Not the case as my legs were dead after a couple of miles. Looking forward to my weekly intervals tomorrow.

Total for the week = 29

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Marathon Training Update- Jan 20

am: 2 mile jog with Sumo, then 4 miles hard in 24:25.

I've run about 50 marathons, and unfortunately never bothered to keep a training diary. Looking back now, I see that prior to my 2 hr 55 min Seattle Marathon my fastest time for this loop was 23:38, 2 days following a 20 mile day and 3 weeks before the race.

My goal will be to knock this time down to 23:30s in the next 3 weeks. This was my first hard 4 mile effort in this training cycle, so I did not expect to run 23:30's, although it would have been nice. A few more interval sessions should make a difference.

Total for the week = 21 miles

Marathon Training Update- Jan 19

pm: 2 miles with Sumo, then 9 miles easy. Legs are still feeling it. Not able to do anything hard yet.

Total= 11 miles
Total for the week= 15 miles

Marathon Training Update- Jan 18

am: easy 4 mile jog with Sumo
pm: 1 hour on the mountain bike

My legs are definitely in need of recovery- the run was hard.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hornet Juice for your Next Marathon?

"The women's marathon winner at the Sydney Olympics has revealed the secret of her success - she drank the stomach juices of giant, killer hornets that fly 100km a day at up to 25 km/hour. Naoko Takahashi, from Japan, consumed the hornet juice during training and the race itself after scientists discovered that it had astonishing powers to boost human stamina." -New York Times

The website ( studies that found "the mice that drank Vaam could swim almost twice as long as those drinking only water, and 25 percent longer than those drinking supplements containing casein, a protein found in milk. The blood of the mice drinking Vaam contained fewer fatty acids, an indication of how efficiently the body is burning fat, than that of mice drinking casein, glucose or water, the studies showed. The level of lactic acid, which tends to rise as the body burns glucose and can lead to muscle cramps, was also far lower in the blood of mice drinking Vaam than in that of the other mice."

What is it? A powdered sports drink that you mix with water or your favorite electrolyte drink, which you take before, during and after exercise, to give you increased energy, endurance and improved recovery time. Hornet Juice works as a trigger for the oxidation of fat, which provides you with an abundant and long lasting source of energy.

It is a unique combination of 17 amino acids, developed after extensive research of the giant hornet and its amazing ability to fly 50 miles a day. Hornet Juice replicates a mixture secreted by the hornet larvae, which the adult hornet ingests to provide them with the energy they need for their incredible flights of endurance. Athletes will enjoy improved energy, endurance, speed and recovery from taking Hornet Juice.

How much does it cost? 10 servings will cost you $20.

Marathon Training- The Long Run

“The long run is what puts the tiger in the cat.” - Bill Squires

There is no getting around the fact that long runs are crucial to a successful marathon training program.

1. Unless you are very experienced, long runs do not have to be fast. They are about building "resistance to fatigue", not speed.

2. You don't just start at 20 miles without following some sort of progressive build-up phase. Most would be marathoners are safe by adding 1-2 miles per week to your longest run, up to an absolute minimum of 15 miles. Everybody has an opinion on how far your long runs should be, and I am no exception. Depending on your speed, I recommend stopping most long runs at 2-2.5 hours, not to exceed 3, even if your projected time is 4 hours or slower. If you use distance as your measuring stick, I don’t recommend running beyond 20 miles in training. Based on personal experience, I think 18 miles is long enough, especially for beginners, provided you do enough of them. Running too far in training requires longer recovery, and trust me, if you can run 18 miles every weekend for a month, you can do 26.2 following a proper taper.

3. Surface. I believe that if you do most of your long runs off-road you recover faster. Ideally this would be on firm grass or trails that allow you to run at a respectable pace. I've found that many trails, especially those that are hilly, rocky, or at altitude, are run at a pace that is just too slow. If you can only cover 10 miles in 2 hours and hope to break 3 on race day, you might be better off back on the roads. The ideal situation would be to run on a smooth dirt or firm trail most of the time, then as your race draws closer mixing in a couple of your long runs back on the road.

4. How long? Unless you come from an ultra marathon background, I favor 18 miles as the long run upper limit for most runners because, as I mentioned earlier, recovery is so much faster than following a run 20 miles and beyond. Efficient, light weight runners are capable of going longer and may choose to do so because they can recover faster.

5. How many? Here is where my opinion varies from most marathon progression programs, that typically allow 2 weeks between your longest runs. I like to build up to 18 miles, and then maintain that distance for 4 consecutive weeks. Ideally, your first 18 miler comes 7 weeks out from your race and your last one 4 weeks out. Here is my 16 week progression for weekly long runs beginning with 8 miles:

Sample Progression of Long Runs

Week 16:....8 miles
Week 15:... 9 miles
Week 14:...10 miles
Week 13:...11 miles
Week 12:...12 miles
Week 11:...13 miles
Week 10:...14 miles
Week 9:....15 miles
Week 8:....16 miles
Week 7:....18 miles
Week 6:....18 miles
Week 5:....18 miles
Week 4:....18 miles
Week 3:....12-13 miles (race simulation)
Week 2:....12 miles
Week 1:....10 miles

I also like the 18 mile distance because the 9 minute per mile runners can still finish under the 3 hour limit (2 hr 42 min at 9 min pace).

Note the race simulation with 3 weeks remaining. Here is where you test your capability for maintaining marathon pace or faster for about half the distance. This won't prepare you for what's in store the last 6 miles, but can be a big confidence booster none the less. If you can schedule a half marathon race here, do it.

6. BE FLEXIBLE! There are many variations to long run build-ups. For example, Jeff Galloway recommends building up to distances of 26 miles and even longer, allowing a full 2 weeks in between. Hal Higdon uses 20 miles, as do most other programs, allowing 2 weeks in between. I like to stop at 18 so I can bounce back for another mid week quality workout before repeating the long one the following weekend.

7. The long run is more than just putting in the distance. Here is where you experiment with shoes; clothing, hydration and what form of calories work best for you (gels, liquid, or something else). Once you get beyond 15 miles, I would break out the shoes I plan to wear on race day for a test run or two, just to make sure nothing unexpected happens after 2 hours in them.

8. WEIGH YOURSELF BEFORE AND IMMEDIATELY AFTER ALL LONG RUNS! This is overlooked by the majority of marathoners, but avoiding dehydration is absolutely essential in preventing "the wall." You must try to drink enough to minimize large drops in body weight during long runs (4% or more). If you weigh 150, an acceptable loss would be 3 pounds (2%). Lose more than 6 pounds (4%) by 20 miles and you may have a long 6 miles ahead.

9. BUY A GPS OR MEASURE! Back in the day before GPSs, I used to estimate miles run based on time and how fast I thought I was running. More often than not I was off by 1 or maybe 2 miles on long runs, usually going shorter than I thought. Unless you measure or have a GPS, your 18 miler may actually be 16!

NOTE: Back when I was 43 years old, I ran 2hr 39 min at the 1997 Disney World Marathon placing 7th overall. My long runs were only 17 miles, but I had 3-4 weeks in a row where I did 2 of those every week- Sunday and Tuesday. Even though I had not run farther than 17 miles in a workout, I was very strong those last 6 miles!

(c) Dave Elger, 2009 All rights reserved

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Marathon Training Update- Jan 16,17

Jan 16- Long hours today on little sleep- no run. I'll go for a long one tomorrow.

Jan 17- 1 mile jog with Sumo, then 17 miles in 2 hr 06. I did this loop in 2hr 20 min last week, so I am very happy with this workout. A nice confidence booster after a 2 day recovery.

Years ago I used to routinely race in South Florida against Tom Redding, who now designs shoes for Nike. I was a few years older than Tom, but we weren't that far apart in most races. I even beat him at the Disney Marathon as I recall. One year in the 7-Mile Bridge run in the Keys, we came off the hump at 3 miles together and finished 1-2. Tom eventually moved to Tampa and began training with Canadian Olympian Peter Maher. It was a year or so later that Tom, a 2 hr 30s marathoner, ran 2 hr 19 in the 1996 Olympic Marathon Trials. I ran into Tom at Boston one year (Peter got 15th that year in 2hr 15) and got a chance to ask him about his training. One of his secrets was an every other week very hard 20 miler on the grass with Peter. They were doing other stuff, i.e. 21-22 mile runs but as I recall he felt it was that really hard run that made the most difference.

With 6 weeks to go before Napa Valley, I think I will stick with this 17 mile course and see if I can get it under 2 hours in the next 2-3 weeks.

Note: At the USA Masters T&F Championships, I met Kevin Paulk (winner of the 45-49 800 meters), another Nike employee, who informed me that Tom can no longer run due to a severe achilles tendon injury. Be careful!

Total for the week = 67 miles

Why Salt Tablets Are Not a Good Idea

Sodium (Na) is the predominant cation (positively charged element) found in extracellular fluid. It is important in maintaining the proper acid-base balance and in the transmission of nerve impulses. Sodium teams with potassium, the chief cation of intracellular fluid, to maintain proper body fluid and acid-base balance in the cells and tissue and maintain blood pressure. Potassium and other electrolytes—such as magnesium and chloride—perform numerous, multifaceted roles in the body. They work in concert with sodium to regulate acid-base, electrolyte, and water balance; conduct nerve impulses; promote normal muscle contraction (including the heartbeat); regulate the transfer of nutrients to cells; and maintain the normal function of the kidneys, heart, and nerve cells. An imbalance of any electrolyte can have far-reaching, serious effects within the body.

Salt tablets present problems for athletes if taken orally to correct sodium deficiencies. In their raw form, salt tablets are often difficult to digest, causing gastric irritation, with accompanying nausea and diarrhea a common side effect. The stomach has difficulty in the immediate digestion of salt tablets, meaning that the benefit of the sodium is delayed; sports drinks, and their nutrients, are far easier for the body to absorb. Swallowed alone, without significant fluid to accompany the salt tablet, the sodium will act to further accelerate the dehydration of the body. -World of Sports Science

Post Exercise Rehydration

Inclusion of sodium (0.5-0.7 g ? l-1 of water) in the rehydration solution ingested during exercise lasting longer than 1 h is recommended since it may be advantageous in enhancing palatability, promoting fluid retention, and possibly preventing hyponatremia in certain individuals who drink excessive quantities of fluid. There is little physiological basis for the presence of sodium in an oral rehydration solution for enhancing intestinal water absorption as long as sodium is sufficiently available from the previous meal. ACSM Position Stand on Exercise and Fluid Replacement (note: it says "rehydration"- sodium would be appropriate for individuals that drank "excessive" volumes of fluid

Olympic Champ Wanjiru Aiming for World Record

Olympic marathon champion Samuel Kamau Wanjiru has confirmed his participation in the 28th edition of the London Marathon in April.

Wanjiru said he intends to shatter the world marathon record of 2:03:59 currently held by Ethiopia's Haile Gebresalassie during this year's Berlin Marathon in September

MY COMMENT: When will someone break 2hrs? These guys are amazing. Watch out for Moses Kigen of Kenya who is making his marathon debut this weekend at Rock 'n Roll Arizona. He has run 60:37 for the half marathon.

Gebrselassie Runs 2hr 05:29 in a Downpour

Gebrselassie's winning time of 2hr 5min 29sec was still the eighth fastest in history, and the fourth fastest he has ever run, but it was well outside the world mark of 2hr 3min 59sec he set in Berlin last September. He did at least have the consolation of a £170,000 first prize.

MY COMMENT: Speculation is the world record would have been gone in better conditions.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Quad Strength May Help Arthritic Knees

"Our results suggest that strong quadriceps muscles have an overall beneficial effect on knee osteoarthritis," the researchers said.

MY COMMENT: This study only found protection from cartilage loss in the lateral compartment of the patello-femoral joint. Researchers think a stronger vastus medialis (pulls the knee inward) may reduce cartilage loss around the joint. Too early to tell but not a bad idea for any runner to strengthen those quads.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dick Beardsley has Knee Replacement Surgery

photo from
Yikes! Dick Beardsley, still one of America's fastest marathoners with a sub 2 hr 09 at Boston in 1982, has had his share of physical problems. I guess he won't be running marathons anytime soon.

Note: In case you are wondering, my guess is high mileage running did not contribute to this surgery. Dick suffered serious injuries in a farm accident which ultimately led to his addiction to pain killers. He also injured his back and neck in an auto accident and was struck by a truck while running in a snowstorm.

Dual in the Sun

I just finished reading Dual in the Sun featuring Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley and their epic dual at the 1982 Boston Marathon. Not a bad read- author John Brant exposes the human side of these great runners and the problems they dealt with.

It's interesting that both runners found a way to use their experience as great runners to be successful today- Salazar as a coach for Nike and Beardsley as a motivational speaker.

Marathon Training Update- Jan 15

pm- 4 miles with Sumo- this is a planned easy day after 2 back-to-back hard workouts. Nice and easy so I can hit it tomorrow.

Total for the week= 48 miles

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Training Update- Wed Jan 14

pm: 2.5 miles with Sumo, then 12 miles in 1 hr 28 min. I was very happy with this workout- average speed on my GPS at 6 miles was 7.5 mph, and at 12 was 8.1 mph. This distance was perfect- I was able to shut it down before I had to slow down. Big difference. .5 cool down jog for a total of 15 miles.

I have no idea if it made a difference but just for fun I took a 5 Hour Energy 2 oz bottle before starting out. I felt so good, this is something I will try again. Tomorrow is an easy day no matter how good I feel.

Upper back discomfort almost negligible- extensions are working!

total for the week = 44 miles

Training Update- Tues Jan 13

pm: 4 miles in 40 minutes on trail with Sumo, then 8 x 800 in approx. 3 minutes with 1 min recovery. I felt pretty good on this workout. The 800 is not is not exact but I think I was 1-2 seconds within 3 minutes on every one. 1 mile cool down.

Total= 9 miles
Total for the week = 29 miles

Guidelines for Preventing Hyponatremia

I was very irritated at the Bellingham Marathon organizers when I discovered they were serving Ultima Replenisher on race day. Ultra Replenisher is a sports drink containing electrolytes but only 10 calories per 8 ounces, virtually worthless. When I asked a race official about it, the answer I got was "What about hyponatremia?"

Hyponatremia is a potentially life threatening condition characterized by low sodium levels in the blood. How does it occur? Overdrinking to the point that you actually gain weight during a long race. According to one study conducted on 488 Boston Marathon finishers, 63 were classified as hyponatremic. Primary risk factors identified were weight gain, a finishing time > 4 hours, and low or high body weight. Most drank more than 3 liters (a liter is about a quart). Others have identified the possibility that genetics, anti-inflammatories, stress, and nausea are contributing factors. Another important factor is sweat rate- the more you lose the greater the risk.

Symptoms of hyponatremia include feeling bloated, nausea, vomiting, swelling in extremities, headache. Lethargy, confusion can also appear. In advanced stages, seizure, trouble breathing, and unconsiousess may occur.

Back to Bellingham- can you prevent hyponatremia by using an electrolyte drink instead of water. The answer to that question is clearly no. While sports drinks are recommended over water "Hyponatremia is caused by excess fluid from any source, not by lack of salt or calories." (Sports Drinks Won't Prevent Dehydration or Hyponatremia).

Recommendations for preventing hypotatremia include:

1. Don't drink obessively in the days leading up to a marathon.

2. Avoid taking anti-inflammatories such as aspirin or ibuprofen before, during, and immediately after a marathon. Wait until you are fully rehydrated.

3. Weigh yourself before the start and write it on your number- this will help any medical staff should you need attention.

4. Drink when you are thirsty during the race but don't overdo it.

5. In workouts, weigh yourself before and after without drinking to estimate your fluid loss (remember 16 oz = 1 lb). This gives you a guide (assuming the same environmental conditions) on how much you need to be drinking to just maintain losses.

6. Acclimatize by wearing extra layers during your workouts for 7-10 days prior to your race.

7. After your race nibble on salty snacks and be careful not to drink too much.


How much should you drink during a marathon?


(c) Dave Elger 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pre Marathon Hydration Strategy

To avoid having to empty your bladder during a marathon, change your prerace hydration strategy. According to the American College of Sports Medicine position statement on exercise and fluid replacement, "When hydrating prior to exercise the individual should slowly drink beverages (for example, ~5–7 mLIkgj1 per body weight) at least 4 h before the exercise task. If the individual does not produce urine, or the urine is dark or highly concentrated, s/he should slowly drink more beverage (for example, another ~3–5 mLIkgj1) about 2 h before the event. By hydrating several hours prior to exercise there is sufficient time for urine output to return towards normal before starting the event. Consuming beverages with sodium (20–50 mEqILj1) and/or small amounts of salted snacks or sodium-containing foods at meals will help to stimulate thirst and retain the consumed fluids.

"Prehydrating with beverages, if needed, should be initiated at least several hours before the exercise task to enable fluid absorption and allow urine output to return toward normal levels.

MY COMMENT: If you have to pee during the race, you probably drank too much too close to the start time. Begin drinking 4 hours before your race, and by T-minus 2 hours your urine should be clear. Drink very little after that up until minutes before your event begins (I like to drink 8-10 ounces with a 100 calorie gel right before the start).

The Day After Long Runs- What should you do?

Yesterday I tried to jog following a 19 mile day, and I could barely get moving. Clearly when your legs are that broken down any running you do will be counterproductive and you are better off staying on the couch for more football.

Don't forget, training is a continuous cycle of tearing down and rebuilding (recovery). The greater the damage to muscle tissue, the more time required to bounce back. The average runner sometimes needs to experiment with different workout/recovery ratios to see what works best. When I am in good shape, I've found that I need one day to recover from an average 2 hour run, so I am able to perform a quality workout about 48 hours later.

What should you do on the recovery day? This is where I like to plug in a bike or some other workout to give my cardiovascular system a workout while my legs recover. I've found that leg muscles beaten down after a long hard run feel surprisingly good when I get on a bike.

On the occasions when you go too far on your long run, you may even need 2 days or longer to feel normal again. If you don't like taking 2 full days off, one trick you can try to shorten the length of your recovery is do your long run in the morning, then after your recovery day wait until evening of the following day to try your next workout. An extra 10 hours of recovery and nourishment can make a big difference, and sometimes you can still get in a shorter quality workout on one day recovery.

Finally, I've often found that while the first 1 or 2 miles back feels terrible, the longer I warm up the better I feel. Give it a chance, and you may find your legs feeling more recovered than you thought.

(c) Dave Elger, 2009 All rights reserved

Training Update- Mon Jan 12

pm- 1 mile jog with Sumo, then 6 miles on mountain bike. My legs are definitely still beat up from yesterday. Why run? The temps were warm enough to get the bike out. It felt good. Ideally I would like some nice hills to climb but nothing within 4-5 miles so I did a fartlek type workout to burn the quads little and elevate heart rate

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Still Got Snow? Try running in this

photo of the screw shoe from

"What a lot of the guys on the team will do is we'll take 1/4-inch sheet metal screws and just drill them into the bottom of the shoes so the head of the screw is pointing toward the ground. They're short enough so you don't feel them in the midsole of the shoe. You can just screw those in and get a little extra traction." -Luke Humphrey, Hansens-Brooks Distance Project source:

screw shoe instructions here by Matt Carpenter (

Electrolyte Replacement - The Lore of Running

"...drinking water at high rates during exercise produces a progressive fall in serum sodium concentrations, which is reduced by ingesting a popular sports drink with a sodium concentration of only 18 mmol per liter."

"As runners are not at risk of developing deficiencies of either magnesium or potassium during exercise, neither needs to be replaced until after exercise."

Source: Noakes, The Lore of Running

Sports Nutrition: Fluids, Electrolytes, and Minerals

SODUIM: Alternatively, humans may dehydrate during exercise because they lose up to 60 mEq of Na+ for each litre of sweat (7). As a result, the equivalent of ~ 10 g of replace sweat and energy losses during exercise remain to be established. The NaCl is lost over three hours of exercise and the complete restoration of the fluid and electrolyte losses in three hours of exercise can only be achieved by the consumption of ~10 g of NaCl in food over a 24 hr period.

Drinking isotonic (280 mOsm) CHO + NaCl solutions will not adequately replace sweat Na+ losses. For the maintenance of plasma and interstitial Na+ ion concentrations and hence volumes, an athlete would have to ingest one litre of a CHO solution containing 60 mmol/l of NaCl every hour. But such a solution is unpalatable. NaCl is only palatable up to concentrations of 20 mmol/l and most athletes can only drink ~ 0.5 l/hr. Hence, whether the replacement of 10 of the ~ 60 mEq of Na+ lost in sweat per hr significantly helps to maintain plasma volume during prolonged exercise is open to debate.

POTASSIUM:Potassium is the major intracellular ion and is lost from the body in sweat and urine during exercise. However these losses are small (<1 gm even during very prolonged exercise) and are replaced by the normal daily dietary intake of 2-4 g. There is no evidence that potassium supplementation is required by the physically active

Magnesium: Magnesium is another intracellular ion that, like potassium, is lost in sweat and urine during exercise. But the losses are trivial. There is no published evidence showing that magnesium deficiency is either common amongst the physically active, or that magnesium supplementation can either increase the intracellular magnesium stores, or enhance performance.


MY COMMENT: Dr. Noakes is recognized as a pioneer in the science of dehydration and fluid replacement for endurance athletes.

Fluid and electrolyte balance in prolonged exercise

1 Institute of Environmental and Offshore Medicine, University Medical School, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB9 2ZD, Scotland.
Copyright 1985 British Nutrition Foundation

Due to the low efficiency of the metabolic process, large amounts of heat are produced when the demand for energy is high. Since body temperature must be maintained within narrow limits, the excess heat must be dissipated and the only heat loss mechanism which can cope with high rates of heat production is evaporation of sweat from the skin; during exercise in the heat, sweat rates may exceed 2 litres/hour. Total losses in events such as marathon races may be as much as 8 per cent of body weight. In addition to water loss, some depletion of electroytes will occur, though this is generally of lesser importance. The fluid loss is distributed among plasma extracellular and. intracellular water compartments in varying proportions. From the point of view of the ability to continue working, maintenance of plasma volume is the major consideration; even small decreases in plasma volume impair exercise tolerance. The ability to replace fluid losses during exercise is limited by the rates of gastric emptying and intestinal absorption, which fall far short of the rate of loss during severe exercise. Replacement of electrolyte losses can normally wait until the post-exercise period

MY COMMENT: I am in the process of compiling information on electrolyte replacement during marathon running- There seems to be lots of conflicting information and opinions on this topic.

Training Update- Sun Jan 11

am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 17 miles in 2 hr 20 min. This was a key workout to get out of the way. Not really planned, but coming off of a low mileage week, the timing was perfect. I was bored more than anything else, but didn't really feel the need to stop until the last half mile. I carried 24 oz of Gatorade instead of gels- 200 more calories would have helped though. If all goes well I would like to get in 3 or 4 more of these before Napa Valley March 1.

The good news is that the usual upper back fatigue/discomfort was hardly noticeable. I think the extensions are working!

Total= 19 miles

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Training Update- Jan 10

2 mile warm-up, then a 5K fun run in Port Angeles in 19 min. I ran some extra by taking a wrong turn but this is still terribly slow. I think I can run in the 17s but cannot imagine running a full 2 minutes faster. I know I was slow due to lack of quality speed work but I actually felt pretty good. I need a long run tomorrow and it looks like the rain is not letting up anytime soon.

Total miles = 5
Total for the week= 45

Training Upate Fri, Jan 9

no run- tired from yesterday and worked all day

Training Update- Thurs Jan 8

am: 2 miles with Sumo, then 10 miles- half in the trail.
total miles= 12
Total for the week= 40

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Training Update- Wed Jan 7

pm: 1 mile with Sumo, 1 mile to trail, then 16 x 400 (approx)in 90 sec, 30 sec recovery. I now have 800 meters (approx) measured off going either way on the Olympic Discovery Trail from the main road, so I did this workout by running 400, resting 30 sec, the next 400, resting 30 sec, then back, then across the road and doing the same thing.

This was a good workout. I am not ready for those 800s, but this was a good stepping stone. When you start back with this kind of tempo after weeks of slow running, muscle adaptation to speed is just as important as training the aerobic system.

Total workout= 7 miles
Total for the week= 28 miles

New Store Category- Back and Neck Pain

I've just added a Back and Neck Pain catgory to the store.

Napa Valley Marathon March 1

I am officially registered for the Napa Valley Marathon on March 1. This one is coming up fast but I have a good base so not too worried. I desperately need to start my 800s and those 14 mile tempo runs that worked so well prior to Seattle. That and a couple of nice long runs.

Training Update-Tues Jan 6

pm: 1 mile jog with Sumo, then 9 miles- 2 miles to Robin Hill Park, 2 loops, 2 miles home. Heart rate up in the trail- pushing the pace so it was not all an easy jog.

Total = 10 miles
Total for the week= 21 miles

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My 2008 Racing Highlights

April 5 Provo City Half Marathon 1 hr 25:35 7th overall. Flat, moderate altitude, and a brutal wind between 2 and 6 miles.

April 12 Moab Marathon- 3 hr 07 min, 1st overall. I was camping at the Youth Hostel in Moab and found out on Wed there was a marathon on Sat! I had done some good track workouts but not much in the way of long runs. This particular race started at 6,000 feet and finished at around 4,500. Very low key- maybe 50 or 60 runners and I ended up "winning".

May 4 Vancouver Marathon: 2 hr 56:43, 37th overall, 3rd 50-54. Had a good race here considering I was just 3 weeks post Moab. Flat course, good weather.

May 20 Rhody Run, Port Townsend, WA 12 Kilometers 45:39, 10th overall, 1st 50-54
I ran very well here- one pretty good hill

June 1 San Juan Island Marathon- 3hr 03:54, 3rd overall. Ran ok on a hilly course. Temps got a little warm.

July 11 Chuckanut 7 Mile Foot Race 43:19, 20th overall. Ran very well here again- Flat trail, pretty fast. Results

Sept 7 Skagit Flats Marathon. 3hr 02:31- 8th overall. Flat course, not in the best marathon shape but did ok in this low key race. Some 2 hour trail runs but probably nothing more than 13 miles. Flat course.

Sept 27 Bellingham Bay Marathon 3hr 03:38, 8th overall Did not run too bad here- the course was deceivingly tough- hills in the last 6 probably cost me a sub 3 hr race.

Nov 30 Seattle Marathon 2hr 55:51, 20th overall, 1st 55-59. Ran very well, pleased to break 3 after turning 55.

Training Update- Mon Jan 5

pm: 2 miles with Sumo, then 4 miles in 27:30- mile 2-3 was a jog on ice. Not a great workout but not too considering the slow mile in the middle. I definitely need more tempo work.

total = 6 miles

Monday, January 5, 2009

Motivational Workout by Shalane Flanagan

Watch this Shalane Flanagan workout on Flotrack. If you don't follow track closely, Shalane won a bronze in Beijing in the 10,000 meters. I like some of the drills, especially walking over hurdles to improve hip range of motion.

Training Update- Sun Jan 4

am- easy 5 miles with Sumo on the trail. Actually felt pretty decent considering the long run yesterday. Tempted to run more because of work tomorrow but I want to get in a decent tempo or start back with intervals so better recover. My favorite stretch of Discovery Trail where I run my 800s is shaded therefore still snow-covered.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Training Update- Sat Jan3

am: 1.5 miles with Sumo, then 15.5 miles. Pace was not fast but this was a hard run. Ave 7.0 mph on the GPS- 2hr 13 min for the 15.5.
Total miles= 17
Total miles for the week- 69 miles

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Training Update- Fri, Jan 2

am: 1 mile with Sumo, then 8 miles at a good pace, 800 meter cool down. I can still feel this one several hours later. Good workout. Time for 8 miles was 65 minutes but I did not get rolling until 2 miles. Total= 9.5 miles.
Total for the week = 51 miles.

Training Update: Thurs Jan 1

New Years Day! pm: 2 miles with Sumo, then 3 miles, 2 x 10 minute tempo runs with 5 minutes rest. Approx 1.5 miles in 10 min., then back. I've been working and not getting much sleep so took the opportunity of a short mileage day to start getting used to a quicker tempo. Roads are beginning to clear and it will take a few miles to feel more comfortable with a faster pace. Big mistake to push it hard too fast. Total = 5 miles.

Training Update- Wed Dec 31

New Years Eve! am: 6 miles easy on the trail in just under an hour.